Alaska GOP Calls For New Senate Election

In the wake of news that the Justice Department is dropping its case against former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, Alaska Republicans are calling on Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, who narrowly defeated Stevens in November, to step down so that a new vote can be held.

Such a move is necessary "so Alaskans may have the chance to vote for a senator without the improper influence of the corrupt Department of Justice," Alaska GOP Chairman Randy Ruedrich said.

"The only reason Mark Begich won the election in November is because a few thousand Alaskans thought that Senator Ted Stevens was guilty of seven felonies. Senator Stevens has maintained his innocence and now, even the Department of Justice acknowledges its wrongdoing," he added in a statement. (Read it in full here>.)

Stevens was convicted of felony corruption charges last year. The Obama administration's Justice Department, however, elected to stop pursuing its case against him because of repeated instances of prosecutorial misconduct in the handling of the case.

In a statement released after the decision was made public, Stevens said it was "unfortunate" that the election "was affected by proceedings now recognized as unfair."

Begich is refusing to step down.

"It's clear there was misconduct by the prosecutors in Senator Stevens' felony trial," he said in a statement. "I'm pleased President Obama's Justice Department has brought a new sense of ethics to their responsibilities."

"I got into the Senate race long before Senator Stevens' legal troubles began because Alaskans were looking for a change and a senator as independent as Alaska," he continued. "Today, with our country in a severe recession, it's more important than ever that we have a senator focused on fixing our economy so Alaskans have the jobs they need to support their families. That is my job in the Senate, and I'm honored to serve Alaskans for the next six years."